Simonton Parent Newsletter
Friday, July 30, 2021
Every Student, Every Day, Deserves to Learn, Lead, & Excel!
Message from Ms. Perkins
We will have a staggered start to the school year. Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade and our special needs students, in designated classrooms, will return for in-preson instruction on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. 2nd and 3rd grade students will join us in the building on Thursday, August 5, 2021 and 4th and 5th grade students return on Monday, August 9, 2021. Digital students of all grade levels and 2nd - 5th grade in-person students will log online on August 4, 2021 for their first day of school. Students in grades 2nd - 5th will meet with their teachers online each day for a whole day of instruction until they are scheduled to return for in-person instruction. Students who are not present online will be marked absent.
Have a wonderful weekend and we can't wait to see you all for the 1st day of school!
Pictures from Open House
Message from our new Superintendent, Dr. Calvin J. Watts
Hello, I am Dr. Calvin Watts, and I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected as the next superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). In the brief time since I was named as the sole finalist, I have heard from many of you and I thank you for your warm welcome back to Gwinnett.
You see, six years ago, I left Gwinnett to serve as superintendent of Kent School District in Washington State. It was a coming home of sorts as the Pacific Northwest was my first home. I grew up in a suburb of Seattle and also graduated from high school in Washington. As I reflect upon my leadership journey, I’ve always thought of the Pacific Northwest as the place where I grew up “personally.” However, I relocated to the Southeast in the early stages of my professional career in education, and since then, I have always referred to Gwinnett County Public Schools as the place where I grew up “professionally.”
I remain grateful for the opportunities J. Alvin Wilbanks and other leaders provided me while I was in Gwinnett… opportunities that let me grow, learn, achieve, and lead. I considered my tenure in GCPS as one of the highlights of my career in education. In Gwinnett, I learned from many incredible leaders and leadership experiences. In GCPS, I served as an Assistant Principal at Bethesda Elementary, as a Principal at Annistown Elementary and Trickum Middle schools, as a Director of Human Resources, and also as an Assistant Superintendent in support of school and principal leadership until I left to become Superintendent of Kent School District.
In Kent, I was able to apply the lessons that I learned throughout my 13-year career in GCPS to many leadership opportunities, including how to lead with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in mind. During my six-year tenure in Kent, we pursued academic excellence and overcame organizational challenges together as we made decisions that centered around the direct needs of our students. Equally important, we conducted district business with integrity and transparency, never wavering even during the pandemic, the most extraordinary year-and-a-half of our educational careers.
It is no secret that Gwinnett County Public Schools has a long history of success. I am eager to reconnect with, and rejoin this district, working with the Board of Education, our administrators, teachers, students, families, and community to lead GCPS in its next chapter.
My leadership philosophy always has been to reach and teach all students as if they had my last name. Because of this philosophy, my wife and I will now have nearly 180,000 children. We can’t wait, as we will soon become empty nesters when our son heads off to college in a few short weeks!
Again, I am humbled and honored to engage and serve you as your next superintendent. In the coming days and weeks, we will provide several opportunities throughout the county and in our schools to give me the chance to meet and learn from as many of you as possible. I look forward to becoming reacquainted with Gwinnett County Public Schools, reconnecting with former colleagues, and meeting and getting to know many of you. Together, we will work to ensure our schools remain great places for our children and this great community.
It’s good to be home!
Dr. Calvin J. Watts,
Newly Appointed Superintendent for Gwinnett County Public Schools
1st Day of School
The first day of school for all students is August 4, 2021. Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade and ASD students (K-5) are the only students returning for in-person instruction that day. All other students will join their teachers online for instruction.
See the schedule below for student return for in-person instruction dates:
August 4 ~ Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st & ASD Students (K-5)
August 5 ~ 2nd & 3rd Grade
August 9 ~ 4th and 5th grade
If you do not have a device at home for our 6 Asynchronous Digital Learning Days, please let us know by completing the Parent Device Request Form that was emailed out last week to all parents.
If a student receives the error message “account can not be verified” they have not entered the correct birthdate password.
Free and Reduced Lunch Applications
The application for free and reduced lunch is now available. If you received this service last year, and you feel you still qualify, you must complete an application again this year.
Free and Reduced Lunch Application
Frequently Asked Questions about free and reduced lunch
GCPS endeavors to notify parents in a timely manner relative to any schoolwide or districtwide emergencies or campus safety concerns. While letters may be sent home to parents affected by the occurrence, when circumstances require a more immediate notification, this information, as it becomes available, will be posted on the GCPS website (www.gcpsk12.org), Facebook page, and Twitter account (@GwinnettSchools). In addition, the district and local schools will communicate to families using phone numbers and email addresses provided by the parent/guardian. This contact information is used by GCPS to send emergency notifications such as school closings and safety alerts by phone, text, and/or email via SchoolMessenger. General/non-emergency notifications will be sent by email using SchoolMessenger.
In addition to verifying that your cell phone number is accurate in the system, you also will need to subscribe to the text message service if you wish to receive emergency texts from the school system. You can do so by texting the word “SUBSCRIBE” to the number 67587. You will receive an immediate response by text. If you do not, please contact your wireless provider, as some providers do not accept texts that use short code (SMS) messages. (Note: If you subscribed to receive text messages last year, there is no need to resubscribe unless your number changed.)
SchoolMessenger messages from Gwinnett County Public Schools will come from the number 1-844-248-6644. Please add this phone number to your contacts so you can easily identify the call as coming from Gwinnett County Public Schools. If you miss a phone message, you can call this number back to retrieve and replay phone notifications.
Please note that an individual can opt out of receiving SchoolMessenger messages at any time. Press “5” on your phone while listening to a phone message broadcast through SchoolMessenger to initiate the opt-out process. Parents also can go to go.schoolmessenger.com, logging in with the email address they provided to the school, and select “Preferences” to make changes regarding the various types of messages that may be sent.
Gwinnett County Public Schools to require masks based on latest CDC guidance
In response to the latest guidance for K-12 schools issued on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gwinnett County Public Schools has updated its back-to-school plans to require masks. As of July 28, 2021, masks will be required for students, staff, and visitors to all Gwinnett County Public Schools’ facilities and on school buses, regardless of vaccination status. This decision takes into account current conditions, the rise in COVID-19 case rates in Gwinnett County, and the ineligibility of children age 12 and younger for the vaccine.
Expectation for Digital Learners
Monday, August 2, 2021 will be the last day parents/guardians may request for their children to be digital learners. Please call the Simonton ES front office at 770-513-6637 if you have questions.
Click on the link below to view the digital parent meeting.
Simonton Elementary ~ What We Stand For
Simonton is committed to dynamic high quality instruction resulting in a passion for learning, leading and excelling.
Every Student Every Day, Deserves to Learn, Lead, and Excel
We commit to giving our students a fresh start every day.
We commit to preparing quality and engaging lessons that will prepare our students to be successful in school.
We commit to teaching, modeling and holding our students accountable for appropriate school behavior.
We commit to providing our students with a structured and safe learning environment.
We commit to a great year of learning, leading, and excelling
Simonton Elementary School
Superintendent- Dr. Calvin J. Watts
Assistant Superintendent- Dr. Terry Watlington
Board Member- Mr. Steven B. Knudsen
Principal- Tamara G. Perkins
Assistant Principal- Tifferney Dodd
Assistant Principal- Daphne Miles
Assistant Principal- Emily Young